The Carolina Panthers are coming off a heartbreaking loss last Sunday against their division rivals, the New Orleans Saints. The Panthers crawled back into the game just to have the door slam shut in their faces. This week the Panthers are looking at what should be a break from their gauntlet schedule against the Redskins. Last week the Redskins did get a win at home against the struggling Detroit Lions, but they could definitely run into some issues with the Panthers. Let’s look at the keys to victory for the Carolina Panthers.
The Panthers need to put pressure on the rookie
The Panthers defensive line has been at the top of the league in sacks for most of the season. It’s going to be critical for them to pressure rookie Dwayne Haskins early and often. Haskins has not played well this season, and honestly, it’s not his fault. He is in one of the worst positions possible. The Panthers might as well take advantage of this horrible situation Haskins is in and rush him. Rookie pass rusher Brian Burns is back for the Panthers, so it will be huge for the team if he can become a nuisance throughout the game.
The offensive line needs to come together
The offensive line seems to be the kryptonite for the Carolina Panthers. It hasn’t gotten any easier with Greg Van Roten being placed on IR for the rest of the season. Greg Little has been back from his injury earlier this year, but it is clear that he has some rust that needs to get knocked off. Although this won’t be the worst pass rush they have faced this season, it could still present some challenges for this offense. Ryan Kerrigan is only two sacks away from the franchise record, so likely he will be playing with some motivation this Sunday. The O-Line for the Panthers needs to find some sort of unity or to be able to find some way to mesh well. This week would be an excellent opportunity to do just that.
Allen needs to continue to progress
Considering the past couple of games that went awful for quarterback Kyle Allen, last week was a considerable improvement. Allen played well against the Saints and even went toe for toe with Drew Brees statistically. The Panthers want to see him continue to progress and not take steps back. Since his start in week three, Allen has thrown 14 touchdowns and has turned the ball over 13 times. Nine of those are interceptions, and five are fumbles. Last week he didn’t turn the ball over at all, which was a nice improvement. The young gun will be looking to continue to improve his play against a Redskins secondary that has lots of holes.
I predict the Panthers will run away with this game, and it will not be a close game. The Redskins pass offense ranks 32nd in the league, and their rush offense ranks 30th. The Panthers’ defense will be able to lick their wounds from the past couple of weeks and dominate this weekend. I also believe that Kyle Allen will be able to keep bouncing back and utilize his targets, D.J. Moore and Christian McCaffrey. McCaffrey will have a field day against this atrocious defense and will continue to make his case for why he should be MVP. The Panthers will finally get their act together Sunday and get back to .500 on the year.
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